People living in the regions who want to get married at a registry office will no longer be able to get married in courthouses.
Around 5000 people got married in a registry office last year around the country.
Starting in July this year, people will only be able to get married in a registry office in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch.
However, Jeff Montgomery, registrar general of Births, Deaths and Marriages, told Tim Dower they aren’t taking away the straightforward wedding at all.
“At the moment, there’s about 1000 people who get married at a courthouse in a smaller centre.
“Now, we’ll be using existing celebrants to do registry style weddings, and the price ($90) will be exactly the same as it is today.”
The weddings can be held anywhere the couple likes, but just not in a courthouse.
Montgomery says that this is the latest in a series of changes being made to the marriage service that will see them move away from being entangled in the legal system.
One such change is that couples can now apply for their marriage certificates and licenses online rather than having to go to the courthouse.
Montgomery says that marriages were only going through the courts as a favour to internal services, and most smaller courthouses were only doing one a year.
“Courthouses are there to do criminal justice and family court matters, they aren’t there to do marriages.”
Montgomery says that the basic legal stuff will be done in about 10 minutes.
He says that he does not believe that any court staff will be affected by this change.
LISTEN TO JEFF MONTGOMERY TALK WITH TIM DOWER ABOVE